It has been 8 years since John Lynch last stepped on an NFL field. Best remembered for being a hard-hitting safety on one of the best defenses in NFL history, John Lynch has not made the final cut for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for three consecutive years. However, in 2016, Lynch will be receiving what many would consider the next best honor a player can receive. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced that Lynch would become the team’s 9th player inducted into the Buccaneers Ring of Honor. Lynch will follow Bucs’ all-time greats Lee Roy Selmon, coach John McKay, Jimmie Giles, Paul Gruber, Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, Mike Alstott and Doug Williams. The leader of the Bucs defensive backfield during the best time in team history, Lynch was known for his physical and disruptive play on the field, gaining much respect by opposing quarterbacks. His style of play likely would not translate well in today’s NFL with rule changes making it a far less physical game than in Lynch’s playing days. Back then, he was never considered a dirty player. The game was simply different.
Statistically, Lynch may not measure up to the all-time great safeties that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. For that reason, he may have a hard time getting his bust in Canton. But in a career spanning from 1993-2008, Lynch amassed 1,058 tackles, 26 interceptions, 16 forced fumbles, and 13 sacks. His play earned him 9 trips to the Pro Bowl and he was named an All-Pro 4 times, 3 of those first team.
It is impossible to name Buccaneer all-time greats without mentioning the name John Lynch. While it remains to be seen if he will ever enter the Hall of Fame, he will be forever remembered as a fan favorite and one of the bests to ever suit up in a Tampa Bay uniform. His name and iconic number 47 will always hang among the legendary Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where it rightfully belongs.